Michigan Vacation Town New Buffalo Changes Airbnb Approach
Last month, the New Buffalo Planning Commission rejected two proposed orders to reduce the number of short-term rentals, the type of homes often available on apps like Airbnb and Vrbo.
The city says the ban on new permits in those three districts will allow New Buffalo to continue to think about whether and how to issue additional permits in the future, according to a staff memo. As of 2020, New Buffalo has been subject to a moratorium on new short-term rental permits.
The board will vote again on the proposal at the next meeting on October 18.
About ten residents spoke at last night’s meeting, most of them homeowners in the town of about 1,700 residents and most opposed to the ordinances. Some asked the council to collect more data on the economic impact of short-term rentals and nuisance complaints. City manager Darwin Watson said he would compile all the research and data the city has and provide it to residents at a town hall meeting on October 12.
The discussion last night was tense. Mayor John Humphrey, who was elected in November, has asked that Laura Murray, a Downers Grove CPA who owns a second home in New Buffalo, be escorted out of the building after saying she directly challenged the council.
“I ask on behalf of the residents of New Buffalo that these two resolutions be defeated,” Murray said in his remarks. “I ask that the board of directors follow the advice of the planning committee and propose alternatives that will be more equitable for long-term residents and owners who choose to rent their property on a short-term basis.”
She said: “The perception was created about a power-hungry mayor whose personal vendetta against …” before being interrupted by Humphrey hitting with a hammer and asking the on-site police officer to lead her out of the building. building.
Others walked out of the meeting, telling the board they should be ashamed of themselves.
Humphrey previously told Crain’s he was against short-term rentals because they push up house prices and drive out permanent residents. Proponents of short-term rentals in New Buffalo say the influx of tourists who vacation at these properties helps support local businesses and restaurants. Homeowners listed on Airbnb and Vrbo also earn income.
This story has been updated to reflect Laura Murray’s belief that she did not exceed her allotted speaking time before being escorted out of the meeting.